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Greater Wellington Backs Wellington City Council On Bus Priority

Greater Wellington is backing Wellington City Council to press on with vital bus priority work on the Golden Mile and the development of a second public transport corridor along the harbour quays.

The regional council’s submission on the city council’s proposed Long Term Plan strongly supports current collaboration on better bus services and relates to a notice of motion filed by seven city councillors, calling for the creation of ‘an integrated transport plan’ for Golden Mile improvements.

Greater Wellington transport chair Thomas Nash says both councils recognise the urgent need for the improvements and the risks of delaying them.

“Bus patronage is at record levels and growing in the Wellington region, with more than 70,000 passenger journeys now taken along the Golden Mile each weekday. For most it’s painfully slow, with the limit for efficient bus operations on the corridor due to be reached next year,” Cr Nash says.

“Without these critical improvements to the Golden Mile and establishment of a harbour quays spine, the logjam of buses through the CBD will make it impossible to deliver the bus capacity Wellington needs.”

If passed, the motion would direct city council officers to work with regional council staff and report on an option to add bus capacity to the Golden Mile while retaining pedestrian improvements.

“The notice of motion is a matter for the city council; however, I know most people in Wellington just want us to get on with the work. We have the budget as well as learnings from historical plans, business cases and a variety of previous studies.It’s time for more frequent, faster buses and less reinventing of plans and investigations that lead to the same conclusions. People in Wellington don't want more transport studies and plans, they want more bus lanes and better bus services.

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“We’ve been building a constructive partnership with the city council on bus priority since 2018 and the benefits have always been clear. Work has already started designing a new road layout and bus stops for Courtenay Place, with the harbour quaysin mind.”

Closer collaboration between the councils on bus corridors was proposed in March. Discussions highlighted the benefits of a second spine along the harbour quays, including quicker access to the airport and hospital, reducing journey times on the Golden Mile, and more travel options in and out of parts of the CBD.

“Support for bus corridors is also a feature of the draft Government Policy Statement on Land Transport, as they stimulate urban and economic development, reduce commuter travel times and enable more frequent services,” Cr Nash says.

“We understand the cost pressure the city council is under.But the cost of this work for both councils is considerably lower than what was previously planned under Let’s Get Wellington Moving.

“I’m confident we can deliver better bus priority together, making life better for people on buses, and for people walking and riding - while giving Wellingtonians more choices on how to get around.”

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